Nine more MPs, representing the SLPP, SJB, SLFP and the independent group, were sworn in as Cabinet Ministers on Friday morning. They took their oaths before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President’s House in Colombo.
The new Cabinet Ministers include, Nimal Siripala de Silva – Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, Susil Premajayantha – Minister of Education, Keheliya Rambukwella – Minister of Health, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe – Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, Harin Fernando – Minister of Tourism and Lands, Ramesh Pathirana – Minister of Plantation Industry, Manusha Nanayakkara – Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment, Nalin Fernando – Minister of Trade, Commerce and Food Security and Tiran Alles – Minister of Public Security.
This is in addition to four other Cabinet Ministers appointed on 14 May which included Prof. G.L. Peiris – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dinesh Gunawardena – Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government, Prasanna Ranatunga – Minister of Urban Development and Housing and Kanchana Wijesekara – Minister of Power and Energy.
Meanwhile, it is speculated that PM Wickremesinghe will take responsibilities as Finance Minister, in the event former Minister Ali Sabry declines to accept the portfolio.
Other than Wickremesinghe, the names of Dr. Harsha de Silva and Eran Wickramaratne were also proposed as possible contenders for the post.
However, Dr. Harsha de Silva said he is ready to take on the role of Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF), stating that his joining the Cabinet as an ‘independent MP’ will only worsen the political crisis.